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Are you suffering from selective kindness syndrome?

By: lindsay haselden

“That was not kind,” I yelled to my 5-year-old as he pushed his little brother over to reach a toy. He turned to look at me in shock and genuinely stated, “Mama, it is not kind to yell."

I immediately realized the hypocrisy of my outcry. Though I was not wrong to correct his behavior, my approach was faulty. No one learns how to be kind because someone shouts at him or her. It was not my proudest parenting moment.

Selective Kindness Syndrome

Unfortunately, this approach is pretty common in Christian culture. Kindness has become a fruit of the Spirit that is relegated to the kiddie table (Galatians 5:22-23). 

We want to teach our children they should be kind to each other. But as adults, we hide behind our smartphones and feel entitled to yell at people across the Internet. We play the blame game when we argue with our spouses. We eat at a restaurant and scold our server if our tea glasses get empty.

Or, how about the more subtle ways we neglect kindness:

  • We turn a blind eye to the person struggling to change a tire on the side of the road.
  • We isolate ourselves from the needy and hurting people in our community.
  • We see someone being treated unfairly, yet we sit back and do nothing. 

Ultimately, the biggest obstacle to the Gospel is not the government, atheists, or sinners. It’s mean and indifferent Christians.

As followers of Christ, we should be the most loving and compassionate people on the planet. What would our relationships, communities, and social media feeds look like if we began carrying banners of kindness instead of signs of protest? 

The biggest obstacle to the Gospel is not the government, atheists, or sinners. It’s mean and indifferent Christians.

What is Kindness?

Kindness isn’t just about being a nice person. Kindness is a beautiful mix of generosity, compassion, grace, and truth. It is the most effective way to show the world the love of Jesus (Ephesians 4:32).

Being kind does not mean we should avoid conflict and only tell people what they want to hear. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone is speak truth into their lives. 

But speaking truth is never an excuse to be hateful or demeaning. Loyalty and kindness should go together (Proverbs 3:3, NLT). Truth is most powerful and effective when it’s spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15). And love can’t exist without kindness.

Who Deserves Kindness?

Kindness is not an action we should reserve only for those who are kind to us. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

We have to choose kindness — even when every fiber of our flesh wants to take the path of judgment, indifference, or revenge — at home, school, work, and even social media.

Kindness changes communities. At the end of the day, would you rather be stuck in a room with a kind atheist or a mean Christian? Who do you think makes a more positive impact? 

The Gospel is spread when Christ-followers commit to sharing it not only with our words but also with the kindness of our actions. What step can you take today to sow kindness into your sphere of influence?

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